April 1, 2010


And finally, here is the third part of my little speech I hope to share (in order to help us look to Christ and glorify Him more) this Sunday:


But the story doesn't end at the cross. The promise in the last half of Isaiah 53:10 was that "he would prolong his days", that is, Christ would come back to life. According to the Scriptures then, after three days in the tomb, Jesus came back from the dead.

He appeared first to the women at the tomb (Matt. 28:9; John 20:18), then to Peter, and then to the rest of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:5). He ate with them, spending time with them, proving that he was physically alive and not a ghost (Luke 24:36-43). Although some doubted, Thomas repented calling Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). After that, it was stated by Paul that he also appeared to more than 500 believers at one time (1 Cor. 15:6).

This was to fulfill what was written in Psalm 16, "For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol (i.e., the place of the dead), or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life" (Psalm 16:10-11).

After Jesus ascended back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit, as He promised, and filled the apostles with power from on high to preach and to baptize and to teach believers in the Way. Everyone who believed received the Holy Spirit and were baptized and continued in the apostle's teaching and fellowship.

The apostles all taught that it is not through works according to the Law that we can be justified, but only through the work of Jesus Christ when He lived, died and rose again for us who trust in Him.

Paul wrote in Romans 5, that while we were helplessly weak (to be righteous in ourselves), Christ died for the ungodly. He said God showed his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He also said that being now justified by His blood, we shall much more be saved from the wrath of God through Him. And that having been enemies of God, we are now reconciled, much more shall we live through Christ. (Romans 5:8-10).

"More than that," Paul wrote, "we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Romans 5:11).


This is the heart of the gospel, the good news of God. This is what makes it possible for a poor man in Peru to weep over the fact that God reconciled Him through Christ after he heard Scripture being read in his native language. This is what makes it possible for a wealthy American to give up pursuing his own glory and in turn seek the glory and joy of God in Christ. This is what makes it possible for us to be both bold and loving, strong and gentle, firm and gracious as we go and share it in a world that rejects the Son of God. We know through the cross that God is Sovereign over all people. We also know now that He kept His promises to send the Messiah, and He will keep His promise to send Him again at the end of the world to save all of those in His Kingdom, and to condemn all those who without it.

After the verse I read where John said Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him, the next verse says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). It follows by saying that this was God's decision to give them a new birth, "who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).

As children of God, those who receive Christ and all that He is according to the Bible, also have eternal life. Jesus said that a son remains in the house forever (John 8:36), and that He came to give eternal life to those the Father has given Him (John 10:28).

The cross of Christ is the answer to so many of our problems.

Maybe you think God is mean to let all kinds of evil happen? But look how He graciously took the punishment of our evil upon Himself at the cross.

Maybe you think you are too sinful to be forgiven and justified by God? Then look How God completely satisfied His judgment on the cross for you, if you will believe.

Maybe you think you don't have enough faith to trust Him? Then look How it is God who works through the cross to make you acceptable by faith. He gave His Son, will He not also give you faith if you want it?

Maybe you think you are not good enough? Then look at the cross, where the righteousness of Jesus Christ was exchanged for your sinfulness, so that you could have His righteousness.

Maybe you think you cannot be holy? Then look at the cross, where Jesus Christ sealed the guarantee that will make you holy by His Spirit.

If you haven't received Him, then receive Him by simple trust right now. If you have received Him already, then keep on walking before Him in the same way that you received Him, by faith, trusting His love for you through the cross!

Don't be like the people who rejected Jesus at the cross, but rather, let us follow those who believed in Him when He rose from the dead.

Let His steadfast love and grace through the cross always be our motivation for faithful obedience to Jesus, our Lord and King.


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